After a creation period of 10 years, TaiwanThe new Taipei Performing Arts Center has finally opened its doors.
Co-designed by Dutch duo Rem Koolhaas and OMA’s David Gianotten, the 13-storey cubic aluminum and glass structure consists of three auditoriums: a 1,500-seat Grand Théâtre, an 800-seat Blue Box Theater (which, when combined, making a 2,300-seat Super Theater for larger productions) and an 800-seat Globe Playhouse. Together, they make a commanding statement, designed, according to the resort’s CEO, Austin Wang, to showcase “the multiplicity of voices in Taiwan”.
The project, which cost 6.7 billion New Taiwan dollars ($220 million) – nearly double its original budget – has been plagued with complications including halted construction and Covid infections among the engineers. The opening of the complex, on Sunday August 7, took place against the backdrop of tensions with China over the visit of US politician Nancy Pelosi. But the sense of ambition behind it is palpable: “Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, we have been able to collaborate with artists from the UK, France, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Spain and Thailand – showcasing theatre, dance, musicals, operas, symphonies, multimedia works, and performance art,” says Wang. “This body of work is testament to the tenacity of Taiwanese artists and the technical prowess of the Center.”
Thirty-seven productions and 142 performances are scheduled for the opening season of TPAC. Artists include Formosa Circus Art which partners with the Taipei Male Choir; and the Bulareyaung Dance Company performing a new work that showcases the music and dance of the Atayal people of Taiwan.
Located above Taipei’s Shilin Night Market, TPAC is designed to co-exist with the city’s “vibrant street culture,” in the words of OMA Managing Partner David Gianotten. “For us, this mix of cultures reflects the energy of Taipei, a city that is always open to change,” he explains.